OTTAWA -- A new United Nations report is predicting dire hunger for more than half of Afghanistan's people in the coming months unless Canada and its Western allies step up with greater financial support.

The joint report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program says 22.8 million Afghans face acute hunger in the coming months, the highest level of need seen in a decade.

The WFP says it is only one-third funded and will need as much as $272 million per month to deliver food aid.

The federal government has pledged to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees who have already fled the country, but a WFP spokeswoman in Canada says those still trapped inside cannot be forgotten.

Afghanistan's economy collapsed along with its Western-backed government when the Taliban routed cities and rural villages before marching unimpeded into the capital of Kabul in mid-August.

Afghans fled the countryside in droves and sought sanctuary in cities, which has created massive food insecurity not usually seen in urban areas of the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2021.